Category Archives: Information

Sunflower Labs Announces World’s First Fully Autonomous Residential Security Drone at CES 2020



Sunflower Labs announced the launch of the Sunflower Home Awareness System – the world’s first fully autonomous residential security drone – at CES 2020. Homeowners will be able to pre-order the Sunflower system with a deposit of $999. The company will deliver the first systems to customers mid-2020.

The Sunflower Home Awareness System pairs always-on motion and vibration sensors with AI processing to provide privacy and peace-of-mind to homeowners while dramatically minimizing false alarms, which a 2018 Urban Institute study found accounts for up to 90 percent of police calls from security systems.

“Advancements in smart home security have been stationary or dependent on video cameras until now,” said Alex Pachikov, co-founder and CEO of Sunflower Labs. “Thanks to the integration of AI and machine learning, homeowners can now have a truly smart security system that, over time, learns and reacts to its surroundings. Sunflower Labs is a leader in the next evolution in smart security.”

The Sunflower Home Awareness System consists of three components: Sunflowers, Bee and Hive:

The Sunflowers: Each Sunflower, disguised as garden lights, houses an array of motion and vibration sensors to constantly monitor activity on the property. Sunflowers are capable of detecting and differentiating people, animals and cars as well as displaying the activity on a map in real-time.

The Bee: A lightweight, fully-autonomous drone that navigates safely to observe activity on your property. The Bee had advanced features, such as automatic deployment, fully autonomous flight, ultrasonic collision- avoidance sensors, high-precision differential GPS and live streaming video.

The Hive: This sleek, weatherproof housing and charging station not only keeps the Bee safe and powered up, it’s also the brains of the entire system with AI data processing and analysis enabled on an embedded system.

If the system senses anything out of the ordinary, it sends an alert to the property owner’s mobile device. In seconds, the owner can choose to launch an autonomous drone flight and view real-time aerial footage of the property via the Sunflower Labs app from anywhere in the world.

The starting price for the system is $9,950. Final pricing may vary based on customization for your property. To learn more about Sunflower Labs Home Awareness System, please visit booth #51306 at Hall G in Eureka Park at Sands Expo during CES 2020.


Huawei Financial Tax Breaks Equal 75 Billion #1414



You want to know how Huawei is able to undercut everyone in the telecommunications space. Well with 75 Billion in tax incentives and a cash infusion from the Chinese government it is no wonder. As you have already determined I am not a big fan of Huawei and I can guarantee no coverage of them at CES 2020. Ok crazy few days and then I will be off to CES so get ready for two shows next week.

We hope you will consider a one-time insider donation and or an annual subscription. Be sure to tell your friends about this podcast when you are talking about non-political things over the holiday period. I’ll be back with you on Thursday for another edition of the show.

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Palantir Wins Pentagon Contract with U.S. Army



Bloomberg reported that the U.S. Army will spend $111 million next year in a new contract with Palantir Technologies Inc. The company was selected by the Defense Department over Microsoft, Ernst & Young, Accenture and Deloitte. Peter Thiel is the co-founder and chairman of Palantir Technologies Inc.

The Defense deal solidifies a relationship between the U.S. government and the Palo Alto, California-based company, which was co-founded and partly bankrolled by Thiel. The billionaire venture capitalist and adviser to President Donald Trump has chastised other technology companies, in particular Alphabet Inc.’s Google, for their reluctance to work with the Defense Department. After Google abandoned a Pentagon effort known as Project Maven, Palantir stepped in to help develop video recognition software as part of the project, a move reported earlier by Business Insider.

The Department of Defense website noted that Palantir was awarded an $100,814,893 “other transaction agreement contract” for numerous databases across the Army enterprise integrated on one platform. Work will be performed in Washington, D.C., and has an estimated completion date of December 15, 2023.

It is interesting that Microsoft was not selected for this project. In October of 2019, Microsoft beat out Amazon for a Department of Defense contract that could be worth as much as $10 billion over a decade. That project is called the JEDI Cloud. According to the Department of Defense website, one bid was solicited via the internet with one bid received. It appears that Palantir may have been that bid.

Bloomberg reported that Palantir will provide software to connect human resources, supply chains, and other Army operation systems into a single dashboard.


Microsoft’s Project Scarlett is now Xbox Series X



In June of 2019, Microsoft introduced Project Scarlett. It was designed for players who want a console designed, built, and optimized for gaming. Project Scarlett is now called Xbox Series X. It will be available “holiday 2020”.

Xbox Series X will be our fastest, most powerful console ever and set a new bar for performance, speed, and compatibility, allowing you to bring your gaming legacy, thousands of games from three generations and move forward with you. Its industrial design enables us to deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way, something that is critically important in delivering truly immersive gameplay.

The Xbox Series X looks very different from previous versions. It was designed to support both vertical and horizontal orientation. To me, it looks like a PC when it is placed vertically.

In addition, Microsoft unveiled the new Xbox Wireless Controller. According to Microsoft, the controller’s size and shape have been refined to accommodate an even wider range of people. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but from the look of it, I assume the controller might be comfortable for people no matter how large or small their hands are.

The controller has a Share button to make capturing screenshots and game clips simple. The new Xbox Series X Wireless controller will be compatible with Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, and will be included in every Xbox Series X.


PayPal to Acquire Honey



PayPal announced that it has agreed to acquire Honey Science Corporation, a rapidly-growing technology platform for shopping and rewards, for approximately $4 billion.

The acquisition supports PayPal and Honey’s shared mission to simplify and personalize shopping experiences for consumers while driving conversion and increasing consumer engagement and sales for merchants. The combination will help accelerate growth across both companies.

Honey posted on its website about the acquisition. “When we started Honey, our mission was to make money fair. What started as coupons has since grown into multiple products that work together to turn inefficiencies into time and money savings for everyone.”

PayPal was the first company to pull out of Facebook’s Libra project. At the time, PayPal said it wanted “to continue to focus on advancing our existing mission and business priories as we strive to democratize access to financial services for underserved populations.” It sounds like PayPal and Honey have matching goals.

I find this acquisition to be interesting because it appears to be consumer-focused. TechCrunch reported that Honey has a suite of money-saving tools to help people track prices, get alerts, and browse offers. It also has a rewards program. PayPal hopes to add Honey’s technology to its own product line, which would open up Honey’s tools to PayPal’s 300 million users.


CIMCON Receives $33M for Smart Cities Solution



CIMCON Lighting, a leading global provider of smart cities technologies, announced the closing of a $33 million financing led by Digital Alpha, which includes $23 million in Series C funding and a $10 million revenue-sharing facility. Energy Impact Partners (EIP), who led the Series B also participated in the round. These funds will enable CIMCON to extend its technology lead in the smart city space and expand its sales and marketing efforts to meet the incredible demand in the market.

The $10 million revenue-sharing facility is an innovative structure provided by Digital Alpha, which will empower CIMCON and its city customers to deploy smart city initiatives with minimal upfront investment.

“We are very pleased to share the news of this recent round of funding from two valued partners,” said Anil Agrawal, CEO of CIMCON. “We have proven through our technology, our customers, and our results that the world is ready to embrace smart city technology as a critical component to urban planning and design. These funds will allow us to develop new applications and services and deepen our partnership with Cisco – and make it easier for cities to move their visions from the drawing board to the city streets.”

CIMCON Lighting’s Smart City Platform is called NearSky. It simplifies the deployment of sensors, cameras, and other devices, such as Wi-Fi access points, so cities can more easily build a digital, data-driven city. It turns any city’s existing streetlight infrastructure into a flexible, reliable, and secure digital canopy that spans the city and serves as an Internet of Municipal Things.

One of the things NearSky can is enable cities to provide mobile apps, public Wi-Fi, wayfinding, information, and EV charging stations to citizens. To me, these sound like useful things that many people would want to have in their city.

NearSky also provides cities with data storage capabilities, analysis tools, and APIs that allow the cities to process the data that is collected across the city’s network of sensors. This could be good, or bad, depending on how the people in charge of the city use that data. Some people may interpret a city’s Internet of Municipal Things as enabling surveillance of innocent people.